Ethical dilemma discussion: what would you do?

One of your club members, a well-known local business owner and a strong advocate of your club’s service projects, is going through a tough business transition and has made drastic financial decisions, in turn adversely impacting many of her clients. Community members are questioning her integrity as a business owner and her interest in improving the community. Over the past few weeks, her diminished image is also starting to impact your club’s reputation.

How do you address this situation?

11 thoughts on “Ethical dilemma discussion: what would you do?

  1. This is a difficult situation as a lot is unknown. Is there confirmed unethical behavior, or is she being attacked just for financial and business difficulties? The club need not take any action unless there is a court judgement that fraudulent or other unethical behavior was involved.

  2. The four way test , I believe in my opinion is not there. This person shoud have left Rotary before this accured. I know another case that a Rotarian Officer used the Rotary for his own good. In small countries those cases exists more than in big countries, like USA.

  3. Four way test should be the fisrt option. I do not believe they should leave Roatry on just the above information. More is needed to be known.

  4. The 4 way test should apply and the matter should be investiigated before any action is carried out. That’s my take

  5. The person should be open to the President and Club Council. If she is a good and redpected Rotarian members may want to take a sympathetic appoach and if Possible seek ways to support her.
    if during the discussion it is found to be illegal then the suggestion to resign would be the correct approach. We should remember we are there not just for the community but our fellow members who make a valued comtribution to Rotary

  6. Reputation is everything in both Rotary and business. Once it turns negative, it’s difficult to turn it around. The example given here says nothing about criminal behavior, but rather, “drastic” business decisions that are calling into question the business owner’s ethics and commitment to the community.

    The simple answer is: Offer to help, even if it’s only as a friend with a compassionate heart and a set of ears to listen with. She may be overwhelmed by the situation she finds herself in, and may not even know what the community is saying about her.

    The reason that only 1.2 million Rotarians can change a world of 7 billion people is that we tackle tough issues in unity with one another. It starts with friendship, one Rotarian to another.

    Rob Wood
    District 5150 Vocational Service Chair

    1. I agree Rob, have the discussion, offer to help if it is appropriate, but also let her know her situation/actions are impacting the Club and their ability to meet Rotary objectives, which is why the Club wants to help her resolve the issue.

  7. Rotarians are supposed to apply the Four Way Test to their actions too and not just judge others by it. Maybe help is a better option rather than criticism. People in trouble seldom ask for help spo offer and talk face to face and not behind the back!

    1. I agree with your second statement, Peter, but on applying the 4-Way Test: It is not written as a test we judge others by; it is written as a test we judge our own thoughts, words and actions by.


      Rob Wood

  8. Too often people jump to conclusions without all the facts. If this person is your club member, family of Rotary member, then whatever you “heard” should be discussed with your fellow club member. I agree with Rob that first you offer to listen & help if possible. Just because someone’s business fails that is a Rotary member you don’t throw the baby out with the bath do you? If your club is so sensitive that you can’t defend a member to the tale bearer, then something is wrong with your club. If the person did something stupid, not unethical, then she should have a chance to rectify it if possible. If the behavior is unethical- that’s another matter. Sometimes people who are desperate do choose the wrong path to try to bail themselves out of a situation. That’s not an excuse, but if it’s brought to her attention and she cannot “fix it” by reversing her path, then she may be asked to resign from the Club if it is egregious. One would hope that persons on the edge of the fence wouldn’t be in Rotary from the get go. Long before this business failure there would be signs of her decision making practices if she were unethical. Any Rotarian business owner who has to lay off people due to a downturn, as an example, would certainly realize the impact on the community, this is why Rotarians help Rotarians. A person who owns a business and makes rash decisions may be running scared and that’s when she needs her “family.”

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